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Product> Get Appy: Eight Digital Design Tools

As all architects—particularly those of the belly bar and T-square generations—will agree, technology should be a design tool, not an end to itself. Building product manufacturers are among those on board with this point of view, and are developing apps that help users visualize possibilities, rather than dictate pro forma solutions. Like digital design consultants, these programs supply specific expertise, and leave the creative control in the architect's hands. Here's a few noteworthy examples. Board Morpholio This digital mood board allows electronic design concepts to be populated with real-life architectural and interiors products from such sources as 3form, Herman Miller, Knoll, and more. SketchUp Pro 2015 Trimble This popular software is now offered in a 64-bit version for Windows and Mac users, with IFC import capabilities allowing back-and-forth sharing of IFC files with any other application. Glass Visualizer Guardian Glass A web-based tool that can be accessed from desktop computer or mobile device, it allows architects to visualize standard SunGuard glass make-ups or custom make-ups. Choose the glass, select the appropriate building type, and see what the glass will look like under varying sky conditions. YouCreate 3form Working with seven material platforms and thousands of color combinations, this proprietary tool allows users to select an interlayer, play with color, and refine the translucency of the manufacturer's panels. ImageWall Zahner Using ImageWall, designers upload an image and it instantly translates into a panelized array of holes with varying sizes. In addition to uploading images, users can also drag-and-drop attractor points to control perforations by hand. Users see the price update continuously while making adjustments to their design. Transparent pricing means that designers can quickly test ideas within a budget, use their design to approach clients, and bring their projects to fruition. Light-a-Home OSRAM An interative, room-by-room comparison of existing and proposed lamping schemes, this software also provides rates of power consumption, CO2 emissions, and costs. Paving Calculator Unilock Once basic information such as product, layout pattern, area, and other details are plugged in, the calculator quickly and accurately provides recommended quantities for joint sand or compound and base and bedding materials. My Thermal Assistant YKK AP This interactive application uses independent laboratory test results to calculate overall system thermal performance using a specific YKK AP product and glass package. It can also work inversely: Input target thermal data, and the program will generate YKK AP material solutions.